From President Kleniewski
To All Faculty and Staff
As you recall, the college opened this fiscal year with a budget gap of approximately $1 million, due to state cuts to SUNY funding. Last month, SUNY announced a mid-year cut of $500,000 to our campus, raising the amount of savings we’ll need to generate this year to $1.5 million. We anticipate further budget reductions next year.
To close the current gap and prepare for the future, we are seeking a total of $2.2 million in permanent, recurring savings. Already, we have identified $1.8 million of such savings, mostly through administrative restructuring and other efficiencies, filling early retirees’ and other vacancies at lower salaries, and leaving some positions vacant. While we hope to close the remaining $400,000 gap this month, Cabinet will continue to review all vacant positions monthly to take advantage of opportunities for savings as they present themselves.
To date, 8.8 positions have been eliminated, and another 6.5 have been left vacant for further review. We have attempted to maintain the continuity of campus operations by consolidating functions and eliminating underutilized services where possible. One example of restructuring is the elimination of one vice president title and three associate vice president titles in exchange for the creation of a senior assistant to the president, a director of the budget, a director of graduate studies, and a director of the library. Because several clerical and custodial positions either have been eliminated or are being left vacant, you may experience a reduced level of campus services. For instance, buildings may be cleaned less frequently, library materials may take longer to catalog, and one of the two daily mail deliveries may be discontinued. Tutoring is a particular financial challenge. Provost Larkin has appointed a task force charged with consolidating and rationalizing the out-of-class learning assistance that our students currently receive through the Center for Academic Development and Enrichment, several academic departments, Student Disability Services, the Educational Opportunity Program, and Intercollegiate Athletics.
Throughout this process, we shall remain committed to maintaining the integrity of the academic program. Toward this end, we have kept the number of faculty positions level, although the provost and deans have made some tough decisions about the allocation of faculty positions to departments. The only academic program that has been substantially affected is the degree in elementary education that we offer in Utica in a partnership with Mohawk Valley Community College. Because of declining enrollment and the persistent challenge of maintaining full-time faculty in that program, we have decided to discontinue it in 2013, upon the completion of the cohort of current students. At this time we are not considering closing any other academic programs.
One other restructuring change unrelated to the budget is that, in recognition of the centrality of Human Resources and Employee Services to the challenges of restructuring our staff, I have decided to create a Cabinet position as of January 1 and appoint Lisa Wenck with the title of Senior Executive Employee Services Officer. She will continue to supervise the offices that currently report to her, including Human Resources and Payroll.
I want to thank all members of the campus community for your patience, your commitment, and your spirit of collaboration as we go forward. While it is still too early to anticipate what next year’s budget will bring, we are gratified that our entire campus has worked together to see the college through these difficult times.